09 September 2012


by Andy Weddington
Sunday 09, September 2012

"I'm inclined to think that a military background wouldn't hurt anyone." William Faulkner

The Party Conventions are history. I watched both - they were productions void of substance but sometimes entertaining. The Democrats won 'Most Memorable Hiccup' - that being the floor vote when the vocal minority 'for God' overruled the vocal majority 'against God' being in the Party's platform. It was hilarious, sadly.

Now America is settling into her post-summer and post-conventions mode. School is back in session. Routines are taking hold. The new fall season television programming is about to begin. And with 58 days until the election, people are now beginning to pay attention - at least with one eye and an ear, thanks to ads polluting the airways, to the two men running for president. One they know - his presidency falling far short of his candidacy four years ago. The other America is coming to know - his candidacy has more of that traditional American roots appeal. 

I had not planned commentary for today but something posted on facebook caught my eye late last night before retiring, and though able to initially doze off the topic would not let me sleep. So after only a few hours of sack time it was to the computer.

Following is that facebook post...

"Romney & Obama - Military Service

Governor Romney has never served in the military.

Before joining college, Romney had received a deferment from the draft as a Mormon 'minister of religion' for the duration of his missionary work in France, which lasted two and a half years. At the time, there was an agreement of sorts between the church and the Selective Service allowing exemptions from the draft for missionaries. Before and after his missionary deferment, Romney also received nearly three years of deferments for his academic studies.

In April 1965, Romney registered with the Selective Service but was not considered readily available for military service until December 1970. When he became eligible for military service in 1970, he drew a high number in the annual draft lottery and at that time no one drawing higher than 195 was drafted.

President Obama has never served in the military. However, during an interview in 2008, Obama revealed that he did entertain the idea of joining the service after graduating from high school. 

“You know, I actually did. I had to sign up for Selective Service when I graduated from high school. And I was growing up in Hawaii. And I have friends whose parents were in the military. There are a lot of Army, military bases there. And I actually always thought of the military as an ennobling  [sic] and, you know, honorable option. But keep in mind that I graduated in 1979. The Vietnam War had come to an end. We weren't engaged in an active military conflict at that point. And so, it's not an option that I ever decided to pursue.” (September 6, 2008: Obama speaking to George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s ‘This Week’) 

His grandfather, Stanley Dunham, served with the Army during World War II. He was a supply sergeant with the 1830th Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Company and was involved in combat several times, most notably during D-Day."

The first posted comment bothered me:

"I wonder how many converts the Mormons got during that time."

That seemed to me an unwarranted bigoted comment. A cheap shot. And there was the implied idea that because Mr. Obama had thought about military service, and his grandfather served during World War II, he somehow enjoyed the moral high ground.

I decided to engage:

"And the relevance since neither wore a uniform? I would much prefer hearing Mr. Obama's explanation as to how a Russian submarine recently patrolled the Gulf of Mexico, for a month, without being detected (remembering his recent "I'll have more flexibility after I'm reelected" comment to the Russian president). And schedule explanation time for SecDef, Joint Chiefs, and CNO, too. And may as well hear from Dir, Homeland Security. Let's not forget an anniversary coming Tuesday. Need I remind of the Oath of Office?"

And my questions, without offering further quoted material, were met with indifference as if petty and irrelevant.

Draw whatever conclusions you wish as to why neither candidate for president served in the military. But there is nothing to indicate that Mr. Romney's lack of military uniform time was anything other than fulfilling another call of noble duty, then pursuing his education (as did many others), and having already long registered for the Selective Service drawn a high number. The life he's led conforming to the tenets of his faith serve to validate earlier life decisions.

Mr. Obama has a less credible story. First, there are suspicions about the legitimacy of his Selective Service registration. But since I cannot quickly put my hands on that material will leave that be. That aside, so what the Vietnam war had ended - there was nothing preventing him from volunteering to serve. His interview answer rings like the stories of all the imposters running around who never served yet bill themselves as Marine or SEAL or special forces, and their work classified so unable to talk about it (that being another clue they're phony). Or the clowns who don a uniform adorned with combat decorations and did not earn any of it. 

Furthermore, considering his background of drug use alone, Barack Obama or Barry Soetoro or Barry Obama, whatever his name at the time, most likely could not have gotten into the military. Frankly, I have seen enough in his adult life to know he would not have made it in the Marine Corps. No way.    

So who has the more credible life story for not serving in the military?

The indifference to the questions I posed to that facebook post also troubled me as we are two days away, to the day, from remembering an awful attack on our country eleven years ago - Tuesday, 11 September 2001.

Foreign terrorists invaded our country. They lived amongst us. They carefully monitored air travel practices. They took flying lessons. They planned. And who knows what else. Then one day they hijacked commercial airliners and flew them into buildings killing thousands of innocent people. Only for the heroics of brave passengers did one plane not find it's man-made target but a field in Pennsylvania.

But how soon we forget.

A couple of weeks ago buried in small articles in print news and online was reports of Russian aircraft probing our airspace off the coast of Alaska and California. And that submarine in the Gulf of Mexico. Are we to believe those are isolated incidents and the only areas penetrated? What's going on in the waters off of our east and west coastlines? And what else is going on and where? Russia was not so long ago a bitter enemy. We're not exactly kissing cousins today.

And back in late March of this year there was the exchange between Barack Obama, President of the United States, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev picked up, unbeknownst to them, by a hot microphone:

Obama: "On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it's important for him to give me space."

Medvedev: "Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you..."

Obama: "This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility."

Medvedev: "I understand. I will transmit the information to Vladimir [Putin]." 

And then once made public out came White House spin for damage control. 

What is Mr. Obama up to? What about loyalty? What about the Oath of Office of the President of the United States. His remarks, since offered on the sly - not openly and candidly, ring of treason. Let an investigation sort it out.

So what about that void of military service - should a stint in uniform, honorably, be a requirement for serving as president?

Military service can do no harm.

Mr. Romney, by all accounts of personal qualities and professional achievements, would have easily qualified for military service and undoubtedly served honorably.   

Nothing about Mr. Obama leads me to the same conclusion. 

Post Script

Among yesterday morning's email was one from an especially close dear friend on duty in Kabul, Afghanistan. The subject line: Present and accounted for

The body of the note: Not sure when you'll see the news - but I am fine. More to follow later!

There was a suicide bombing nearby - the explosion heard and felt. Many innocent Afghans killed including children who sell goods to U. S. and NATO personnel in the green zone. It's a damn dangerous place.

It's a damn dangerous world. Who best to serve as commander-in-chief?





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